The National University of Singapore (NUS) will be establishing an endowed Professorship in Social Sciences in honour of Singapore's first President, Encik Yusof bin Ishak. The Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences memorialises and honours Encik Yusof's many distinguished contributions to Singapore, in particular his deep interest in promoting harmonious relations in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation. The new professorship was announced this evening by Singapore's Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong during his National Day Rally 2014 speech.
The Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences
The endowed professorship, which will be established at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, will enable the Faculty to attract and appoint leading social science academics who have demonstrated excellence and established international recognition in teaching and research in the areas of multi-ethnicity and multi-culturalism.
The Yusof Ishak Professor is expected to assume stewardship for enhancing cutting edge research in one or more of the following fields of study: race, ethnicity and community studies and multi-culturalism; communication and civic engagement; and studies of religion and religious diversity.
All gifts and donations will be channeled to an endowment fund to support this professorship.
Said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, “As Singapore's first President and our University's third Chancellor, Encik Yusof bin Ishak served the nation and University with great distinction. He challenged the university community to inspire the national consciousness and civic spirit, and reminded us to be a centre of learning as well as a focus of nation building.
We are honoured to have the opportunity to establish the Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences to continue his legacy of furthering understanding of multi-ethnicity and multi-culturalism for an inclusive and progressive society.”
Professor Brenda Yeoh, Dean of the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, added, “We are delighted to set up the Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The professorship will allow us to enhance our expertise in the study of race, ethnicity, multi-culturalism and religion. More importantly, it will allow us to work towards the strengthening of understanding for multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious issues in the national consciousness, an area of deep interest to Encik Yusof bin Ishak.”
A Leader Dedicated to Nation-building
Born in 1910 in Padang Gajah, Perak, Encik Yusof bin Ishak rose from humble beginnings to become the first Malayan-born Yang Di-Pertuan Negara on 3 December 1959 and later, the first President of the Republic of Singapore on 9 August 1965. Encik Yusof served 11 years as Head of State and President and provided Singaporeans with steadfast courage and leadership during the early tumultuous years of nation-building.
A distinguished journalist and editor, Encik Yusof was a prominent patron of the arts in Singapore, and was also a member of the Films Appeal Committee, the Nature Reserves Committee and the Malaynisation Commission. His exemplary career was also marked by an appointment as the Chairman of the Public Service Commission in July 1959.
Encik Yusof was the third Chancellor of the University from 1965 to 1970. As Chancellor, Encik Yusof demonstrated a keen interest in the University's growth and development as a centre for scholarship and focus for nation building. In 1969, Encik Yusof was conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University for his significant contributions to the development of modern Singapore as a united multi-racial and multi-cultural nation.
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